Scouting Halfbacks and Fullbacks: read what the NFL is looking for

In this NFL Scouting series, we will cover each position group. The first was quarterbacks. In the real report I used, there are pictures of the backs in various movements, with comments about each. In order to keep anonymity for the Scout, I’m only using the words, no photos, or the handwritten notes used.

Scouting halfbacks and fullbacks gives you a glimpse into what happens in their world.

Unlike the QB report, this is one page, but there’s less to analyze with this position group than the guys under center. Even so, when scouting backs, not only do they put together these analyses, but visit games, watch film, analyze them at the combine, any bowls and often host them at their facilities.

While there was less to cover, they still went in-depth and beyond what the average fan would consider. Scouting Halfbacks and Fullbacks gives the reader a chance to see inside the minds of what NFL general managers are looking for.

Hopefully, this will help you watch the game with more detail and talk with knowledge. They break down film, have them do whiteboard work, talk to coaches, etc. The actual one below is based on, had photos showing:

Style

  • one cut
  • slasher
  • compact
  • upright/erect
  • pick & slide
  • screen type
  • slippery

Overall Size

  • bruiser
  • diminutive
  • lengthy
  • high cut

Inside run

  • acceleration in hole
  • strength
  • balance
  • effort
  • burst

Outside run

  • stride
  • speed to corner
  • cutting ability
  • elude

Elusive run

  • make defender miss
  • vision
  • darter vs weaver
  • iline & open field

Routes

  • precise cuts vs round off
  • gather body
  • separation quickness
  • body stiffness to adjust on move
  • flexibility to adjust

Run after catch

  • acceleration
  • elude
  • toughness

Fumbler? Reason

  • carriage
  • carelessness
  • extra effort
  • physical make-up

Pass Pro

  • willing? effective?
  • adjust
  • vision/blitz recognition
  • inside power
  • outside lateral adjust
  • chip
  • cut block

This is an important list scouting halfbacks and fullbacks

  • instincts
  • vision (cutback), hole/block read
  • pad level
  • durability
  • stamina
  • workload limitations
  • center of gravity
  • ball security
  • suddenness
  • best in open space
  • hands? extends to pluck vs gather
  • balance after contact
  • elude (in open field)
  • balance
  • make defender miss
  • bender?
  • explosive speed
  • burst through hole
  • initial quickness
  • lateral bounce
  • leg/fee management on contact
  • short strider

All the lists above will have remarks, numbers, grades. In addition, after watching games and film, the scout could make notes like these, which were after a game. Each paragraph is a different player.

  • Squirter. Elusive, low to ground runner. Does not take a hit square. Good vision that belongs between tackles. Strong legs, keeps them driving. Runs through, not around you. Power game runner, question his vision. 1 cut and go. Not a HR hitter.
  • Keeps legs pumping. Tough, quick burst back. elusive, but one cut guy. Low center of gravity. Doesn’t get squared up to get t tackled. Little target. Can break away.
  • Nice hands, smooth mover. Breakaway speed, hides behind and sets up blockers well in screen game. Low center of gravity. Hard to hit. N/S runner. Great vision and elusive player. Doesn’t stop legs.
  • Shifty, breakaway speed. electric. Open field=gone. Runs through arm tackles. Low center of gravity. Good hands. Good patience and vision. Really pops off the screen.
  • Like him, more of an outside the tackles RB. does well squaring up his shoulders. Lines up in the slot at times, ran a fairly sloppy 5 cut, but cuts looked fine. Has ability, but for being a speedster, I question his breakaway.
  • Breakaway speed. elusive, but not a dancer. Downhill runner. Big body. Tall, but runs low. does not give a big tackling target. Long legged strider. Tough runner. does not turn down a tackler. Like this kid as both a spread and dot back.

There you have it, what scouting halfbacks and fullbacks look like, the type of items they look for and some notes they’ll make. Obviously, the bulleted items above will have numbers or notes and on their RB/FB eval sheet will have many hand scribbled notes.

Hope this was helpful, you can comment at the bottom of the page or send a direct message to @the_teal_zone on twitter.

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